Why Two Fort Worth Bourbon Lovers Grew Texas’ Biggest Distillery, and Then Sold It

When Troy Robertson and Leonard Firestone began making batches of whiskey nine years ago, they dreamed of a global brand with a Texas flair.Their homegrown Fort Worth brand known as TX is now on its way with last week’s sale to Paris-based Pernod Ricard, the world’s second biggest producer of wines and spirits. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.The purchase includes Texas’ largest distillery, Whiskey Ranch, a 112-acre distillery and tasting room built on a golf course where legends Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson used to caddy. All of the TX whisky found on shelves and in Whiskey Ranch’s tasting room are produced on the property from grain to bottle. How Firestone and Robertson built one of the most popular spirits brands in Texas is more of a coincidence than a true plan. Their wives and children were friends, and the pair engaged in small talk at family gatherings. Neither knew the other wanted to break into the whiskey business. Roberston's initial attempts at creating whiskey was as a hobbyist, after he began to wonder how to make the product. During his research, he visited a small Austin distillery and discovered Firestone also was planning to stop by. He called Firestone, which led to a meeting between the duo to share ideas. It was “more to size each other up” than anything, Robertson admitted. Their shared ideas about a Texas-inspired whiskey resulted in a business partnership. It was no short order to get started in a state that’s spawned such well-known liquors as Patron and Tito’s.   Continue reading...

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